When I woke up the next day, I was still really tired, so I got up and trudged down the stairs and into the bathroom. I turned on the cold water and splashed some into my face. It refreshed my face and did a horrible job of waking me up. But I was still able to go into the kitchen and cook myself a full meal of toast, eggs, bacon, and ham. I was also awake enough to add in a cup of coffee.
As soon as I walked into the kitchen, I was welcomed in by the heat of flavorful meat and eggs embracing me, begging me to go all the way in. After a cup of warm, hazelnut coffee was placed in my hands, I took a sip and felt it trickle down my intestines and land in my stomach. I rubbed my eyes with my left hand and looked around. At first, all I saw was the stove and toaster, but once I looked more to the right, I saw Josh Vernone masterly handling the long tongs, flipping over the bacon and hams. Why is he here?
Then I remembered that I insisted he’d stay the night.
“Thanks.” I mumbled.
“For the coffee, duh.” I said, now more awake.
I slugged over to Josh and examined his cooking.
“So what’s for breakfast?” I asked slowly.
“Eggs, beacon, toast… Same old, same old.”
I went and sat down at the breakfast table.
“How much longer?” I said as the toast popped up and a timer dinged.
I got up and helped him put the finishing touches on our breakfast. Then I retrieved two paper plates out of the lower cabinet and handed one to Josh. We both filled up the plates to the rim and walked over to the breakfast table. I placed my plate on the table and walked back over to the utensil drawer and picked out two sets of forks and knives. After we were all settled down, we dug in after saying “Grace”.
“Where’s the rest of it?” I asked Josh.
He stopped eating, “The rest of what?”
“You know, the rest of the surprise.” I reminded him.
“I’ll show you when we get to my house.” And he continued eating.
“Wait, we have to walk over there again?”
After breakfast, I got dressed while Josh cleaned up in the kitchen. When I walked back down, the kitchen looked like it did before; nice, neat, and clean. Though when he was cooking, he didn’t make a very big mess. I grabbed some bottles of water out of the fridge and tossed one to Josh. We walked out back with me in the lead. My head was tilted down, due to my watching out for snakes, so I didn’t know that I missed a red, moderate-sized go cart until he told me to stop.
“Hey, where are you going?” Josh shouted after me.
I turned around and saw it, “Where did this come from?”
“I went home and got it last night.”
“But I didn’t see you leave.”
“I did it while you were asleep.” He told me after a few seconds passed by.
“I’m a light sleeper- I would’ve woken up.”
“No you’re not. Hop in.”
I stammered a bit on the truth of that and walked over to the go cart. The door was open when I reached it, so I just jumped in.
“This is pretty cool. I’ve never ridden in one of the-“
I was abruptly cut off by the speed of the go cart and the whir of the wind buzzing around my ears. The wind also forced me to sit in the back of my seat. Josh fed it more gas, and soon enough we reached the peak of the hill. We flew over the top of it and were in mid-air, about to land in the water. I closed my eyes and waited for the splash. When I didn’t feel like my stomach was falling anymore, I peaked out of one eye and saw the water.
We weren’t in it, but if Josh drove another centimeter, we would’ve been. I opened both of my eyes and looked to my left. I saw him but he was no longer next to me. He was standing outside of the vehicle, trying very hard not to laugh at me. I don’t know what’s with him, but to him it seems as if I’m a stand-up comedian. At least when something makes me scream.
“What’s so funny?” I pouted, crossing my arms in front of my chest.
Josh broke down laughing. He managed to say, “You should’ve seen your face!” between each laugh.
“I thought you only laughed when I scream or say something kind of funny,” Nothing from me is totally funny. I know he fake laughs. I just know it.
Josh stopped laughing and stood up straight with a poker face, “You did.”
“No I didn’t!” Yes I did.
“Yeah, you did. And I know you just admitted it.” He said, a wry smile stretching across his face.
“What ever. Let’s just get inside so you can show me the last part of the surprise.” I wobbled out of the car, still shaken, and walked uneasily next to Josh and into his house, forgetting about the water bottles left on the go-cart’s seat. Only God knows what he wants to show me next. In fact I don’t really want to see what happens after that…
“Ok, sit down.” He instructed me, so I obeyed. He sat down next to me.
I sighed, “Where is it?”
“It’s not the fact of where it is. It’s actually something I have to say. And I guess I can demonstrate a bit afterwords.”
I turned my whole body to face him and crossed my legs in front of me, and he did the same thing. After we got all situated, I said, “Shoot.”
“Well,” Josh began with a deep breath, “My parents died when I was four because they taught me something. Don’t start thinking that I’m going crazy when I say this, but… The taught me the art of Leuygin.”
“And, what’s that?” I wondered aloud.
“It’s, um, the reason why I can hear your thoughts.”
“Ok, go on?”
“In other words it’s magic. This magic isn’t really like the others. You really have to be born gifted in order to take on this responsibility. Since my great-great-great-great-great- grandfather discovered this power in my line of blood, I’m able to use it. But the only consequence of a parent teaching their offspring this is that they die. But like I said earlier, I don’t really think they’re dead. They might be somewhere else.”
“Wow. That’s pretty interesting; not crazy at all- at least to me.” Then I thought aloud,
“Wait, does the “parents will die” rule only
apply to parents, or to all people who teach it to someone else?”
“Well, I do remember that they said it only applies to parents. Why?” I don’t know why he asked that, because I’m pretty sure he knows why.
“Can you teach me? Then I can help you find your parents.” I asked excitedly.
I was shocked by the sudden answer, “What? Why? You said I may be the key!”
“Yeah, may be the key. I’m not a hundred percent sure, though.”
“Aww, come on! What will happen to me? It can’t be that bad!” My voice was really high pitched now.
“Half of your body’s energy will be drained. And you need at least 75% energy to live.” He explained, “But that only applies to you if you do not have the magic in you.”
“And how will you live?” I shot at him.
“Because I have the magic running in my veins, Alicia.” He pinched his arm to “demonstrate” and sighed as if he was in agony, “But I will need someone with the magic to help me.”
“Can’t you teach me the magic?”
“You need to have it in your bloodline first. And how will I know if you have it or not?”
“Is there a way that you can analyze me to see?”
“Yeah but I don’t know it by heart. It’s in the book.”
“Then go get the book.”
“Well, there's a problem with that.”
“Oh my gosh.” Now I was pinching the bridge of my nose.
“I don’t have it.”
“Is that all you have to say?”
“No. I think I might know a few people from school that have the magic in them. I can ask them. If they respond, then they’re one of us.”
“What do you mean, one of us?”
“Like, they respond to us. Like you and I are talking now.”
“Oh, ok.” I forgot I was still holding my nose, so I let go.
“And I think it might be Lane.”
“You have a history with him, don’t you?”
“Not really. Just the fact that he unintentionally bullies me.” I smirked.
“What does he do?”
“Steps on my papers, won’t pass them up, hits me when he stretches, etc. etc.”
“Well, I think he gets nervous.”
“How?” I laughed at the thought.
“I can’t really tell you that right now.”
“Why, either because you don’t know or it’s another surprise?”
“Well, it’s a bit of both.” He saw that I got mad, so he added, “Mostly because I don’t know.”
“Ok, I’ll buy it for now,” I said with a bit of sarcasm in my voice, narrowing my eyes at him.
“Good, because I need a little more time to figure out what my next move is.”
“Hey, Josh?” I asked sweetly.
“Yes?” He mimicked me.
“I still want to help you find your parents, and I am no matter what.”
“Why? Why is it so important to you?”
I sighed and said, “I don’t know why, but I feel like I’m connected to them. And I always felt a connection to only He knows what, and I couldn’t figure it out until today. I want to find something that I feel connected to.”
“How do you think you’re connected?”
“I don’t know, I can’t quite put my finger on it yet,” I said, tapping my chin with my index
My heart did a little flip, “Fine what?”
“You can help.” He got up and started pacing in front of the couch, my eyes not leaving him once, except to blink, “But I need to find the book so I can teach you the art of Leuygin.”
“Do you have any idea where it is?”
Josh stopped and turned to look at me, “My parents.” He sulked.
Dang, so close but yet so far!
“I know, right?” I looked up to smirk at him, but when I did, I saw him, but not him. It was like an older version of him. Like, a twenty-something year old version.
“Uh, Josh?” I warily whispered.
“Yes?” His voice was the same deep voice he always had.
“You’re- How old are you?”
“You look like you’re twenty.”
“Do I always?”
“Not really. You usually look 17.”
He walked over to the mirror to look. I looked away for a few seconds and looked back. He looked 17 again.
“Well, I look fine to me.” Josh said slowly, examining his smooth face.
“I just- I- you-“ I stuttered.
“You need to go see a psychologist.” He said as he sat back down.
“Yes, I know this.” I sighed once again.
“I was just kidding, you know.”
I ignore him and went on, “Anything else you need to tell me?”
“Need to? Yes. Want to? No.”
“But can I tell you anymore without getting us both in danger? No.”
“I don’t care if I’m in danger.” You know how to use magic. I feel safe around you.
“You will care when you find out who puts us in danger. You’ll care a lot. So much you’ll cry and want to die.”
“Please tell me.”
“I can’t. More people than you think will come get us. I can’t take that risk. One of us will die.” His eyes gave away nothing but solemn feelings.
“Fine. But I will squeeze it out of you one day, I promise you.” I threatened him, demonstrating with my hands.
“Sure.” He shrugged. I could tell that he wasn't completely sold.
“What time should I go home?” I asked.
“I’m staying here tonight?”
“Yes. I already told you enough information to set off someone’s alarm. I want to keep an eye on you.” Josh turned serious again.
“Ok. How will you keep surveillance when you’re asleep?”
“Easy. I won’t go to sleep.” He acted as if that was normal.
“Um, people live off of sleep. You have to.” I laughed a little.
He mumbled something that I couldn’t hear.
“What?” I asked.
“I said that I can use magic to help me stay awake. It’ll take a lot of power, but it’ll work.”
“Is there anything that I can do to help?”
“Yes. Get some rest. If there’s any danger, then you’ll be able to run away because you aren’t half asleep.” Josh said it like it was a simple arrangement.
I curled up on the couch and closed my eyes. I felt a blanket being pulled over me, and I knew it was Josh. He also lifted my head to put a very plush pillow under it. I thought about the different possibilities of dangerous people in this world. Lane? Doubt it. Could it be another person from school? You never know. I also had this crazy idea that my parents could be an enemy, but I probably would’ve been dead by now, right?
But every time I asked myself if it was a possibility, it felt as if a strong fist clenched my stomach and squeezed it until it held nothing anymore.
The next day I woke up, I was surprised that I had actually slept through a whole day. Then I realized it was just night time. When I turned around, I saw Josh sitting on his bed with red eyes that held bags underneath them. I crossed the room and coaxed him into lying down and taking a little nap. I also told him that if anyone caused anything, I would immediately wake him up and warn him. Finally, he fell back onto the bed, so I tucked him in with a blanket and gave him an extra pillow. Sooner or later, I heard a few very soft sounds coming from him.
They weren’t exactly snores, but they were something like it. If a pin dropped, you would still be able to hear it. But the room was really quiet, so it wasn’t very hard to spot the sound. In fact, the room seemed a bit too quiet. More quiet than usual… I looked around, in the
kitchen, under the bed, on the couch, under the couch, everywhere.
Except for the bathroom.
I grabbed the first weapon I saw (a hairbrush) and slowly made my way across the
room until I reached the bathroom door. I turned the abnormally cold door knob until it reached the end of its route. Then I cautiously pulled the door open. I peaked in. At first I saw nothing, but then the light came on and I saw a weird creature sitting in the bathtub next to a pile of skin.
I shrieked and dropped the hairbrush. I suddenly felt Josh slide past me into the cramped bathroom. He shouted some words that I didn’t understand and all of a sudden the robot-like thing was smashed against the far wall. The robot parts fell to the bottom of the shallow bathtub. For a second I thought that we were safe and was about to start breathing again, but I noticed Josh was still tensed up.
“Run,” He breathed, “Damn it, Alicia, run!”
I tried to turn around, but my body wasn’t cooperating with me. It was like I was paralyzed. Josh shoved me back into the living room and turned me around so I could run, but I still couldn’t move. I heard the bathroom door slam against the wall and automatically my legs started moving. Not just moving, sprinting. I sprinted towards the front door. Before I reached it, I looked to my left to make sure I wasn’t being followed, but sure enough I was.
Josh was chasing the robot which was chasing me. When I looked at the robot, I immediately started slowing down.
“Stop looking at it!” Josh yelled at me.
I tried not to, but I was caught in a trance by the thing. I stopped running and turned towards it. Josh came into my view and I snapped back to life. He ran towards me, grabbed my left arm, and started dragging me back towards the door. When I sneaked a peak back at it, I was caught again. Before I could look away, my eyes were locked on him. Like I was stuck behind bars. Like I did badly but there was no proof. Like I was a turtle stuck inside of its shell.
I was immobile. Josh tried to pull me, but I was stuck. He started cussing at me to stop looking at it, but I could barely hear him. Soon enough, the robot-thing reached me. It backed up a little before running towards me at full speed. When it hit me, I felt a slicing pain through my abdomen and white filled my eyes. I literally saw my life flash in front of me.
Even the unknown life.